You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have...
Today I have been back to work for one month. Cohen is four months now. Ainsley and Freddie have been in school for five weeks. We should be settling in to a new routine, but instead, I feel like my life is in a tailspin!
The first time you have a baby, you are shocked by the change to your lifestyle. You wonder how you ever got anything done...EVER. Laundry piles up, dishes don't get washed, dog hair accumulates in the corners, and it's hard to remember your last shower.
Then eventually, you adjust. You figure out a new system that works. I think after Ainsley it took me about a year. Maybe you don't scrub the bathrooms once a week anymore and maybe toys scatter the living room floor, but you become okay with your new reality.
Then the next baby comes and you think, "well I've already done this, so I'll go back to my normal routine again." But you forget how exhausting life is with a baby. How you're nursing always. How everything takes just a bit longer. And that you now have this new person to fit into your family. So again, toothpaste builds up on the bathroom sink, fingerprints don't get wiped from the windows, and mail takes over the counter.
Again...you adjust. You nail that new system. I think after Freddie, it took me less than a year...maybe 8-10 months. Now hopefully you can get the sheets washed once a month and the toys just belong in the corner of the living room. But again, you change your expectations and you learn to live in the new now.
So then you have a third baby...and wow, are you dense. Because really, you think "I've done this twice, how hard can it be." Hard. It can be really hard. So hard that you end up on the verge of a nervous breakdown in the middle of your disgusting kitchen while your children run around naked because it's bath night - but you don't have time for a bath because it's also bedtime, and your baby gnaws on your arm because you haven't had time to feed him yet.
I walk in the door right around 5pm every night (side note...I leave work at 3pm - yeah NOVA traffic rocks). In that moment the baby needs to eat, the dogs need walked and fed, the older kids want a snack, dinner needs to be cooked, homework needs to be completed, everyone wants to enjoy the cool weather outside, and all I can think about is crawling into bed.
I wonder how long it will take this time? And I wonder what my new normal will be? Before Cohen came along, I had a system. A few simple chores each night, heavier cleaning on Saturdays, groceries on Sundays, a load of laundry every night. Now, Clif has has gone to the store two nights in a row for things we can't get by without. I'm not sure when I'll be able to fit in an actual trip. I don't know when I'll be able to sign up for a 5K or train for it. It may be years before I see the bottom of the hamper again. Not sure if I'll be able to finish Cohen's letters before he outgrows the crib.
But I do know that we will all come out of this eventually. We always do. I have my moments of utter hopelessness. I'm a crier. It's the way I let off steam. But somewhere in the back of my brain is always this little chant "This too shall pass, this too shall pass." My life can be spinning out of control and a little voice keeps saying "This too shall pass, this too shall pass."
And it will pass. The good and the bad. It always does. And even though I am eager for this constant overwhelmed feeling to pass, I can not wish away the days or hours. They already fly by too fast. So I will take the good with the bad. Because the good is seeing Ainsley finally figure out a tough word in a book, even though I'm digging through the dirty clothes to find a pair of pants that haven't been spit up on. The good is listening to Freddie sing a new song, even though the sink is too full of dishes to drain the pasta. The good is seeing Cohen smile ear to ear, even while delicately removing the onsie he just pooped all over.
Even in the chaos and mess, the good comes through.